Board of Appeals hearing set for Feb. 23

Watts Cove ramp, float applicant appeals again

By Dan Otis Smith | Feb 16, 2017
Photo by: Dan Otis Smith Bryce Molloy stands in the spot on his Watts Cove property where he has wanted to build a ramp and float since the summer.

St. George — An application to build a ramp and float on Watts Cove that has provoked some community opposition and resulted in an appeal, as well as multiple reviews by the town Planning Board, will have yet another hearing before the Board of Appeals Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.

James Katsiaficas of Portland, attorney for Bryce and Gail Molloy, said this appeal was rooted in fairness.

“An important thing is that we be treated fairly and consistently with other property owners in the town,” Katsiaficas said. He said there were around 200 properties in St. George with similar facilities, and and that one similar application had been approved by the Planning Board in December.

The Planning Board turned down the Molloys’ application for a third time Jan. 10 at a well-attended meeting, citing a section of the town ordinance regarding impact on wildlife. That decision followed a Board of Appeals hearing in December and two earlier rejections by the Planning Board in the fall.

Opponents of the 12-foot-by-16-foot float and 26-foot ramp say it would disturb a fragile bird habitat in the tidal flats at the lower end of Watts Cove, particularly at low tide when the float makes contact with the mud surface. They point to the fact that the St. George Conservation Commission has identified the lower cove as a tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat and all of the cove as a significant ecological area, among other designations.

Katsiaficas, however, pointed to an application for a permanent 5-foot-by-90-foot pier and seasonal 3-foot-by-44-foot ramp and 10-foot-by-24-foot float in Otis Cove, also in a designated tidal waterfowl and wading bird habitat. The Planning Board approved that application unanimously in December.

Bryce Molloy and Katsiaficas have said the steep ledges leading to the water on the Molloys' Wallston Road property are too dangerous to traverse, and that the ramp and float would allow for safe access. Molloy wants to use the ramp and float to help access a canoe and inflatable boat.

Reporter Dan Otis Smith can be reached at 594-4401 x123 or by email at dsmith@villagesoup.com.

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